I’ve been a GMHBA private health insurance member since 2004 and in this review I describe why I think they’re the best low cost quality private health fund in Australia.
Geelong Medical and Hospital Benefits Association was established in 1927 by a group of Victorian workers to protect themselves, their families and their workmates from unexpected medical expenses.
Many years later the fund has changed it’s name to GMHBA because it has members around Australia – but it still operates the same way – as a mutual, not-for-profit private health fund providing low cost, high quality medical insurance.
Not-for-profit Health fund = Low Cost Quality Private Health Insurance
Traditionally most of the Australian private health insurance consisted of not-for-profit funds like GMHBA. However over the last few years several not-for-profit funds have listed on the stock market becoming commercial funds interested more in making profits and increasing their share price than in providing low cost health insurance to members.
If you’re considering joining GMHBA you’ll be glad to know that they surveyed all members in late 2007 and decided to stay not-for-profit because:
- 82% of members preferred GMHBA staying a not-for-profit mutual health fund
- By remaining not-for-profit GMHBA saved paying $4.85 million in taxes in 06/07 which saved members $66 on average in reduced membership fees.
- These are examples of what members said: “I’m not in a health fund for profit”, “I’d prefer to tradeoff a lower premium than have a dividend”, “Now that I think about it, I don’t want shares – I want the service I get now”
- GMHBA’s average cost/member is 12.8% lower than other private health funds
As further independent proof of GMHBA’s value, in August 2007 Australia’s leading consumer magazine invited 38 Australian health funds to participate in a hospital health insurance comparison and basing their ‘Best Buys’ on: price, conditions, restrictions and benefits GMHBA won more ‘Best Buy’ mentions than any other health insurance fund for the second year running.
“There were 90 health funds in the early 1970’s and nearly all the rationalisation took place between not-for-profit funds. The difference this time is individuals may appear to be seeking to get rich quick and putting profit ahead of people and principle…”
– Jonathan Crabtree – Executive Manager, GMHBA Health Insurance commenting on my article “Free Compare Private Health Insurance – Get Lower Premiums”